A Report on Ribbons - March 1915
About March 1st the New York City retail stores began to take the ribbon situation seriously; that is, they started decorating departments and show windows with their newest styles, and undoubtedly the valuable window space given the New York ribbon buyer during the last few weeks is the most significant development, in a ribbon way, since our last issue.
The ribbon manufacturers as a general rule are in high spirits. A short time ago, six or eight weeks, they had no thought that ribbons would be in as great favor as they are today.
On many items there is great under-production; at least twelve or fifteen different types of ribbon are in favor, and, considering style indications, it is not at all unlikely that, in the face of a rather depressed general condition, ribbons will experience one of the best years they have ever had.
Purchasers of ribbons for millinery use are buying quantities of wide satin ribbons; that is, six, seven and eight-inch widths. They are also buying amounts of plain grosgrain in these widths.
One manufacturer we have visited tells us that his black moiré business for millinery purposes is very nearly as large as it was this time last year.
He expects, from the way the black moiré demand began, that this item will become scarce in New York within the next few weeks.
Narrow grosgrain ribbons that are available in widths of five, seven, nine, twelve and sixteen, continue very active, but there is a tendency on the part of millinery buyers to use wide ribbons, and we look for a gradual decrease in demand for the narrow ribbons for millinery departments.
Ribbon departments are buying very liberally of narrow black and white stripes. Loop edge ribbons, Roman stripes, plain grosgrains, and velvet ribbons are all in demand.
In respect to velvet ribbons, it might be said that this article in black and colors, is extremely scarce, particularly the real narrow widths and the very wide widths.
Extremely wide fancy ribbons of very elaborate character are also most active. The New York retail stores are showing this class of goods in great profusion and report to us that they are selling it freely for evening-wear girdles, waist trimming, and sashes.
In this class of material, we learn that metal effects are the most in favor; silver selling ahead of gold.
Supply House Showings
The dressmakers’ supply houses are also showing ribbons. Two large Western firms who are now displaying their lines in New York to visiting dressmakers are making quite a feature of ribbons. This is rather unusual, since ribbon, for many years, has not had a place in their lines.
Their displays, for the most part, are of wide ribbons. Metal effects in these lines are also a prominent feature.
New Lustrous Item
One of the most striking items seen in a wholesale house is a beautiful high luster satin ribbon. This number, we learn, is made in eighty-odd shades and two widths, six inches, and eight inches.
It is the character of ribbon that formerly was made only in St. Etienne and Lyons, France, and an American manufacturer becoming so progressive as to find a way to make this article, is just one more instance of the genuinely great stimulation European trouble has given to American manufacturers.
The price situation is about the same as it was a few weeks ago, that is, manufacturers are selling their materials too cheap, in their opinion.
A noticeable brace has taken place in the raw silk market during the last week or so because the Japanese government has formed a Syndicate to sustain the price of raw silk leaving Japan. We expect that this development will lead to higher prices for ribbons before long.
Record Ribbon Year
Just as we go to press, we are informed by B. Altman & Company that their business in all classes of ribbons, particularly the elaborate, high-grade fancies, for the first two weeks of March was the best on record for that season.
“Ribbons” in Dry Goods Guide: Advance Fabric Number, New York: Black Publishing Company, Vol. 35, No. 3, March 1915 p. 25.
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